I just couldn't post last nite… too spent in every way imaginable. All I wanted to do was get in my bed and try, as best as I could, to process everything that I have experienced this weekend. This is my feeble attempt to put it all into words.
- I don't know how to adequately share with you that which I've experienced this weekend. I have seen some of the highest highs only to be immediately followed by challenges that dropped me to my knees (which by the way, is not necessarily a bad thing, just hard sometimes).
- I began my weekend over at Mt. Airy Baptist Church leading worship for the NC Baptist State Convention Southeastern Prayer Conference, "Call to Me". This was an incredible event that placed me under the teaching of Dr. Henry Blackaby, who has had a HUGE impact on me as a follower of Christ. I'll talk about this later this week but just have to say what an honor.
- Spiritual Warfare was definitely happening at the conference (more about that this week).
- On Sunday morning, after leading the 1st service music, I felt a spiritual attack happening to the point of having to find a quiet place to open the Word and allow God to speak deeply into my Spirit. Literally, I felt 2 Corinthians 12:10 manifest in me while God showed Himself strong on my behalf. He literally sent His joy to me and I was automatically renewed and strengthened and shown what it means in scripture when it is said, "The joy of the Lord IS my strength". Thank You, Jesus!
- As I prayed over the services early Sunday morning I felt myself being continually drawn to Psalm 103, to the point of actually opening both services by asking the congregations to read together God's Word that it might be spoken over the service, the building and their lives.
- After God's intercession for me after leading the 1st service I returned to lead the 10:30 service. One word: amazing! It is SO good to have the privilege to lead people to the place that He is… the presence of Jesus was very tangible in the place.
- Had multiple people share with me yesterday morning how much they love hyde park and how God is using you to make a difference in their lives. That never gets old.
- Prayed for multiple people yesterday in the area of strongholds in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I love believing God's Word that reminds me that He is bigger than all of our problems and stronger than ANY stronghold.
- AM music: Today is the Day w/ Psalm 103 (Lincoln Brewster), Your Name (Paul Baloche), Shout to the Lord (Hillsong). That was literally only the 2nd time in about 3 years that we've sung "Shout to the Lord" – still a powerful song (i've just sung it too much through the years) – used sparingly, it is a beautiful reminder of all God is.
- We returned at 6pm for a "Nite of Worship"… um, WOW!!!!
- iN the middle of "nite of worship" God gave us grace to have a powerful time of prayer. No doubt, God was ministering to the Body with the Body… people, pouring out their hearts to God.
- I had the opportunity (and privilege) to lay hands on and pray for my earthly dad during that time - that was worth every bit of it. And to get up from my knees and to see people ALL OVER THE AUDITORIUM praying for others around them…
- if you weren't there YOU MISSED AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD! I know you probably think I'm just trying to make you feel bad… SERIOUSLY… i don't remember the last time His presence was so strongly in our midst. I know that some of you probably had straight-up conflicts, but for those of you who literally chose not to attend because it wasn't high enough on the list of things you should do: in my opinion, you did not choose wisely.
- Sorry about that last one… not trying to offend but I do want you to know how badly you needed to be in that place.
- Hearing the congregation "shake the foundations" with their voices (and through His Spirit) was so great… the crowd sang like they meant it. Hyde Park was battling for the Lord last night, "Ephesians 6 style".
- Had multiple friends whom I miss (and love) with us at hp yesterday – so good to see and worship with them!
- Best part of Nite of Worship for me: I wasn't even worship leader! I was "the drummer" and I had one of the best seats in the house to witness MY TEAM leading you to the throne of God. I can't think of many times in my life that I have felt more blessed. EVER!
- My family and I followed an amazing Nite of Worship by spending a few minutes with my Mom, Dad, Grammie, Grampie and friends…
- …and it just got better from there as I received news from Alan Sealey that his wife, Karen (who had been hospitalized Saturday with chest pains) was going home and all tests were negative (you'll hear more about this later this week). Praise the Lord!
After an amazing day with a lot of ups and downs (of which God is Lord over all) we ended with some surprising news as Pastor Dennis announced to the church that he will be retiring within the next 6 months. I have to say that the feeling of the room was (at least to me) shock. Not that we haven't talked about it, but I didn't know that it was coming which left me totally unprepared for the news. We'll have plenty of time to talk about all this as the sad day of his departure nears but may I just say publicly:
I am SO thankful that God placed Dennis Harrell in my life. God has used him to grow, stretch, challenge, edify and teach me in ways that are too numerous to name. The 10 years that I have been privileged to serve with him have been nothing less than supernatural. During that time we have seen hundreds of people profess faith in Jesus Christ and while our journey has taken us down incredible paths that we did not have the ability to forsee, God, in His Sovereignty, did. I love my Pastor and friend and thank God for the privilege of learning under such a great man of God.